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Old 2009-01-20, 08:41 PM   #16
corbin
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Yeah, great pictures!

What camera and lens do you use?
What flash did you get?
Did you set them up yourself and use a timer?
What processing did you do on the photos?

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Old 2009-01-20, 11:21 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian O. View Post
A three dollar flash goes a long way.
Serious? Only $3.00, that's nothing! What kind?

But awesome photos!

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Old 2009-01-21, 02:54 AM   #18
Brian O.
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Thanks everyone!

The photos were shot on my ancient Digital Rebel XT (350D) with a sketchy manual focus Russian fisheye lens (Peleng 8mm) and a flash I bought at a thrift store for three dollars. The flash is a "Promatic FTD4500AF" and visibly, its very obviously from the 80s. It was manufactured for Minolta cameras and wouldn't fit quite properly on my camera or wireless triggers so I took it apart and removed the extra contacts on the hotshoe, leaving only the center one so that it can be triggered and fit.

The brings me to the next part, the flash was fired off camera. I bought the cheapest wireless flash triggers I could find and had the flash mounted on the receiver which was on my tripod. The flash basically has two power settings (bright and not so bright) and no auto mode so a lot of it is just a matter of playing with distances and angles as well as camera settings.

You will notice a certain theme going on here, I'm using all incredibly old, outdated and low end equipment. You don't need to spend $10,000 on camera stuff (though I wish I could) to get good results for the web and reasonably sized prints.

The shots aren't technically HDR but its not just a coincidence that they are reminiscent of the effect. I'd rather not go into too much detail about the post editing I do as everyone has their own styles and techniques. Just know that I have a vision for the final image and know the limitations of my equipment very well. If your camera can shoot in RAW mode then you should most certainly be using it. It gives you a lot more latitude whilst touching up.

Anyone who brags that they don't edit their photos, who say they "just take the picture correctly to begin with" are just ignorant. Editing can't save a bad photograph but it can make a good one excellent. Just about any photograph you've seen and liked by photographers online has gone through some sort of extensive post work, whether it be simple sharpening or color enhancements or drastic effects such as HDR; however, its a very thin line between enhancing your photographs and just simply overdoing it.

I've uploaded another two, these are actually the same exact photograph. One is before editing and the other is after. This should give you an idea of my setup (you can see my flash on the tripod in the unedited one) as well as the sort of defects I have to deal with: intense lens flare on the left side of the image as well as an overall softness to the image.





I appreciate everyone's interest and I'd be glad to answer more questions. If you want to help me afford half decent gear you can do so by getting a poster from my uni photography poster shop in my signature. If you want one of the shots in this thread as a poster just let me know and I can set it up. Thanks!

Last edited by Brian O.; 2009-01-21 at 03:03 AM.
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Old 2009-01-21, 03:08 AM   #19
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Admittedly that last shot is pretty terrible. At that point my flash triggers were no longer firing reliably (one in ten shots it would fire) and I was just getting irritated trying to get it to work. I'm relatively sure that it was just a matter of the stuff being in the cold all day. I haven't tested it to see if it works again yet though.

Corbin, since the shots were of Sam (AgentQ) and not myself I had no real need to use a timer of any sort. For all of the shots the camera was handheld, composed and fired by me.

I had the camera in manual mode for the entire shoot as thats really the best way to work with off camera flash.

Last edited by Brian O.; 2009-01-21 at 03:14 AM.
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Old 2009-01-21, 06:39 AM   #20
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Whats the main reason for squishing the background as you did?
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Old 2009-01-21, 11:54 AM   #21
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I really like the pictures, the are professional maded
and The colours are beautifull !!
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Old 2009-01-21, 02:42 PM   #22
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Hey Brian, nice shots!

I'll hazard a guess you've read Strobist? I do the same kind of stuff using two Vivitar 285s. it's pretty rediculous what off camera light can do for you.

Keep up the good work!
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Old 2009-01-21, 11:30 PM   #23
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i was in Boston the weekend before you did this!

i was visiting a friend in Boston on the 8th through the 12th! i brought my KH24, but i only got to go on one ride. i think we may have taken the same path (the one along the Charles River?). i don't take pictures, but i do have a gps track.
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Old 2009-01-22, 12:16 AM   #24
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Let us know next time your in the area.

All these pictures are form in or around the Boston Commons.
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Old 2009-01-22, 01:04 AM   #25
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Amazing pictures Brian

Too bad I had to leave on the 8th and didn't go riding w/ you guys
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Old 2009-01-22, 02:51 AM   #26
Brian O.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGlyph View Post
Hey Brian, nice shots!

I'll hazard a guess you've read Strobist? I do the same kind of stuff using two Vivitar 285s. it's pretty rediculous what off camera light can do for you.

Keep up the good work!
You caught me! I just started reading a few weeks ago. I just got a vivitar 285hv in the mail today and I think getting that other flash for $3 set my expectations unrealistically high. To be frank, I'm not impressed at all with the vivitar - it doesn't seem much more powerful than the flash I found, you can't swivel the head and it takes almost twice as long to recycle to full power (I'm measuring around 11 seconds on the vivitar vs 6 on the promatic). You are in Boston? Why haven't we ridden or shot together?


Jerrick, I'm not sure what you mean by squishing the background. I removed the fisheye distortion, maybe that's what you are picking up?
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Old 2009-01-22, 03:10 AM   #27
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Quote:
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Jerrick, I'm not sure what you mean by squishing the background. I removed the fisheye distortion, maybe that's what you are picking up?

Must be. I was just wondering cause the original, the building with the 4 lights, is about an inch from the side, there is a taller tree, 3 people, and some more buildings going until the pictures edge, and hte after pictures, all of that is gone. Besides the grouping of three trees on the right, everything else looks squished and closer up.


The pictures are great though. I think I need to save up for a decent camera.
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Old 2009-01-22, 03:38 AM   #28
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Awesome. It's a really amazing blog for sure. I've learned an immense amount from it.

The 285s are definitely not magnificent pieces of equipment, but considering their cost they do a pretty good job. One of biggest advantages over your 3$ flash is the option of having 1/16th up to full power. As for refresh time, I almost never shoot on full power so I can't say I know for sure, but I do beleive getting better AAs will help. I use 2700mAh rechargables.

I just got on a Uni for the first time on Friday, so thats probably why we haven't crossed paths yet =) I am extremely interested in doing both some riding and some shooting, though, so we should definitely stay in touch.
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Old 2009-01-22, 04:21 AM   #29
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The $3 flash has full power and 1/16th, no in betweens. I did some testing and the $3 flash has exactly the same output at full power as the 285 at half power. Also, at half power the 285 has the same 6 second refresh rate as the $3 flash. I'm beginning to warm up to it a bit.
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Old 2009-01-22, 06:43 AM   #30
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Quote:
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I'm beginning to warm up to it a bit.
I'm glad! They're pretty fun. As you use it a bit the capacitor will get broken in a bit and you will probably see a bit of an increase in refresh time.
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